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Deals & Steals

Benefit Cosmetics LLC

A woman with shiny dark brown hair

I’ve always been the girl with big hair. Thick, coarse, frizzy hair; humidity is my kryptonite. I’ve experimented with hair taming serums and shampoos and have used every tool from the Con-Air Steam Straightener to the CHI Flat Iron.

So the idea of undergoing a treatment designed to combat my exact hair woes set my heart aflutter with the hope of a new hair life.

What it is:
An in-salon treatment, called The Keratin Complex Smoothing Treatment. I tried the treatment at Toronto's Salon Escape where owners and stylists Robert Barbosa and Nikki Braithwaite explained that the process infuses hair with the protein keratin, eliminating frizz, smoothing the cuticle so hair lays flat (which makes hair a breeze to manage). Keratin is a natural protein found in skin, hair and nails, but it’s true that most of us need plenty more of it. The Keratin Treatment is chemical-free and acts as an intense conditioner by depositing the protein back into the hair.

Step 1: Prep My Hair
Because my hair was quite damaged from colouring and styling tools, I went into the salon a few days before my Keratin appointment in order to prep my hair and maximize the treatment. They applied three different treatments to my hair to make sure that the benefits of the ensuing keratin treatment would be maximized.

Step 2: The Keratin Treatment
So now that my hair was properly assessed and treated, I was ready. The three-hour process began with a clarifying shampoo to open the pH in the hair and make it more susceptible to the Keratin lotion. Nikki then dutifully “painted” the treatment in ⅛ inch sections at a time after which she blow-dried it at a low setting. She then had to meticulously flatiron those sections at approximately 425˚F in order to activate the treatment.

Step 3: Letting the Treatment Set and Work Its Magic
Now comes the fun part. For the next 72 hours (three days) I was not allowed to tuck the hair behind my ears, put it in an elastic, use bobby pins or hair bands. No exercising (good excuse) or cooking over steam (another good excuse) or anything that disrupts the flat state of the hair. It’s really not that bad though. By the third day I was feeling a little greasy but I would do it again and again to have the hair I have today.

The Cost:
The Keratin Complex Smoothing Treatment starts at $300 (for chin length hair) and lasts up to six months. Salon Escape is launching an express version on September 16, 2010 in which you leave the treatment on for 8 hours (as opposed to 72 hours); it lasts up to six weeks at a fraction of the cost.

The final result: Shampoo Commercial Hair!
My hair feels as soft as a toddler’s; it’s unbelievable. The coarseness I used to have is completely gone and it just feels so much healthier. I’ve already washed and blow-dried it on my own and can’t get over the difference in the way it feels and how much time I now save! The most important thing to note here is that you absolutely have to use the sodium-chloride free Coppola Keratin Care Shampoo. Using any other would reverse the effects of the treatment. Luckily the salon supplies it in big, pump bottles so you don’t have to keep coming back.

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